How Frickin’ Badass Does The Outgoing CIA Head Of Counter­terrorism Sound?

by 3 years ago

Zero Dark Thirty

There’s a big shakeup going on over at Langley, as the man who has headed up the CIA’s counterterrorism efforts for the past nine years is changing roles.

Who’s that? Well, he’s such an important spy that his name isn’t, and never has, been disclosed. Possibly because every radical from Damascus to Tehran would want a piece of this dude. That’s what you get when you run the Counterterrorism Center for nearly a decade.

But the clandestine nature of his job didn’t stop The Washington Post from reporting on the change in leadership. In the piece, they sprinkled in a few details about the man known as “Roger,” and let me tell you, he sounds like someone you wouldn’t want to fuck with.

[The restructuring] ends a nine-year tenure during which the center was transformed into a paramilitary force that employed armed drones to kill thousands of suspected terrorists and militants but also killed an unknown number of civilians.

As the architect of that campaign, the CTC chief came to be regarded as an Ahab-like figure known for dark suits and a darker demeanor. He could be merciless toward subordinates but was also revered for his knowledge of terrorist networks and his ability to run an organization that became almost an agency unto itself. He embodied a killing-centric approach to counter­terrorism that enraged many Muslims, even though he is a convert to Islam.

That’s uhhh…. really ironic? He married a Muslim woman he met while working for the agency in Africa. I wonder what their fights at home are about. Other couples bicker about taking out the trash, not eliminating members of subsets of your own religion. Which he did a lot of.

His job gave him authority to approve drone strikes, which often meant midnight calls from subordinates. His push for permission to begin launching what came to be known as “signature strikes” — attacks on suspected militants even when their identities weren’t known — led to a lethal surge that peaked in 2010 when the CIA carried out 117 strikes in Pakistan.

That is a lot of murder.

Does he embody every stereotype and caricature that you’d expect of a flag wavin’, air killin’ zealot? You betcha.

At one point during the height of that campaign, when asked by a colleague how it was going, he replied in a typical profane fashion, saying, “We are killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them.”

That’s …. good, I guess?

Roger is expected to remain at the CIA, despite his involvement in a number of … shall we say sketchy, borderline illegal, and almost certainly immoral campaigns.

In fact, that’s possibly what kept him at the CTC for so long.

U.S. officials said that Roger is expected to remain at the CIA in a new assignment which has yet to be determined

But other factors also accounted for Roger’s longevity, including a perception that his involvement in running the CIA’s secret prisons and use of torture on terrorism suspects had left him so tainted that he was seen as ineligible for other high-level CIA jobs.

Which means of course the CIA is proud of him

A CIA spokesman described the outgoing CTC director as “one of the true heroes of the agency.”

A previous Post profile of him got even more in-depth into perhaps the most important unelected figure in U.S. foreign policy of the past 30 years.

Colleagues describe Roger as a collection of contradictions. A chain-smoker who spends countless hours on a treadmill. Notoriously surly yet able to win over enough support from subordinates and bosses to hold on to his job.

His defenders don’t even try to make him sound likable. Instead, they emphasize his operational talents, encyclopedic understanding of the enemy and tireless work ethic.

From the outset, Roger seemed completely absorbed by the job — arriving for work before dawn to read operational cables from overseas and staying well into the night, if he left at all. His once-pudgy physique became almost cadaverous. Although he had quit smoking a decade or so earlier, his habit returned full strength.

He could be profane and brutal toward subordinates, micromanaging operations, second-guessing even the smallest details of plans, berating young analysts for shoddy work. “This is the worst cable I’ve ever seen,” was a common refrain.

Cool dude. But there’s a new Roger in town now. His name is Chris.

[He] is being replaced by an agency veteran who has held a series of high-level positions, including running the CIA’s operations in Afghanistan. His name is Chris.

Man, the CIA is secretive as fuck. I guess that makes sense though.

But I’m sure we will be in great hands with Chris running the show.


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